Games people play

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Let me tell you, the game I like playing is football with my mates. Now you might think that's highly unlikely, because at school I was the cliche weed, but I've got a photograph to show you: me and a couple of the team taken by myself when we'd just finished playing in last week in Regent's Park.

I learnt to play football in 1989 because I was suffering from a broken heart - a badly broken heart - and some chums said "come and play football".

It takes me back to when I did my first ever gig with a band, I was looking forward to it because I thought I was so mercurial, and I can tell you that before the end of the first song I wanted to stop because I was absolutely exhausted. So I started to go running so I'd be a bit fitter. When you run, it hurts at first, then you get this terrific rush from the endorphins. That was 1978. Let's go forward, back to the broken heart.

Some of these football chums were quite rough, and we played on concrete. They knew I was sad because I'd been deserted, but they never talked about it, they just played football with me and it was as though someone was putting their arms around me very comfortingly. All that summer we played football and got increasingly fit; each of us thrumming with endorphins.

But this is the crux: if you invite someone to play, they reveal everything about their character. You sometimes think, "Hey, well, I don't like this fellow." Some people play like professionals, you know, jostling and fouling and such. After about a year of this, I was much comforted and started to get better. I put it all down to football.

Premier League footballers use the Mitre Ultimax professional standard matchball, pounds 49.99 from Lillywhites (0171-915-4000).